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How to Discard Your Elderly Loved One’s Unused Medications

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Many seniors have medicine cabinets full of unused pills. Regularly cleaning out medicine cabinets is important for senior safety because your aging loved one needs to be protected from mishaps such as accidentally taking an expired medication. Your first step is to set up regular times to go through the medications, such as once a month or after picking up new prescriptions. Then you can follow these steps to properly dispose of any unneeded medications.

Check the Information Leafle

Pharmacies include leaflets with medications that explain the side effects and other pertinent information. These leaflets often contain valuable information regarding how to properly dispose of the medication. While some types of medications can be tossed in the garbage, others require special handling. Start here to find out which medications need special care when it comes to disposal. 

Medication management can be difficult for older adults with cognitive issues such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a New Hampshire at-home care agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services.

Identify Potentially Dangerous Medications

Certain medications need extra precautions to be followed for safe disposal. For instance, inhalers and other medications that come in aerosol containers pose a risk of injury to anyone who might come in contact with a punctured bottle. Contact your local trash and recycling company to find out how to handle these types of medication delivery systems. 

Assisting with medication management can be a challenging task for overworked caregivers. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. New Hampshire family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

Look for Take-Back Programs

In addition to the trash and recycling company, many communities host special medication take-back sites or events to assist people with this important task. These are usually offered through police stations, pharmacies, and hospitals. To find one near you, reach out to one of these organizations or check your community’s website or newsletter. Keep in mind some events are only held a few times a year, which may require you to create a safe storage place until you can get rid of outdated medicines. Typically, a lockable container placed out of the reach of other people is the best place to store unneeded medications until they can be safely disposed of.

Make Medications Distasteful

Many medications can be placed in the trash. However, you need to make sure no one ingests them, either on purpose or by accident. Always start by crushing up solid pills, then mix the powder with a liquid and something that tastes unpleasant. Most authorities recommend using something such as coffee grounds or kitty litter to mix it with so it isn’t ingestible. Once everything is mixed completely, you can then place the mixture into a sealed bag and put it out with your normal trash for pickup.

Remove Personal Information 

While the majority of steps you take to dispose of medication are designed to protect the public, this one is all about taking care of your loved one. Identity theft is a huge concern for seniors, and their medication bottles may have a great deal of personal information on them. Always shred leaflets when they’re no longer needed, and use a marker to black out any identifying information on pill bottles before throwing them away.

Older adults who need help managing their medications should consider professional home care services. Families shouldn’t have to worry about finding reliable senior care. New Hampshire Home Care Assistance is a leading provider of elderly home care. We offer a proprietary program called the Balanced Care Method, which uses holistic methods to promote senior health, our caregivers and Care Managers are available 24/7, and all of our in-home care services are backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If your loved one needs professional care, Home Care Assistance is here to help. To hire a compassionate, dedicated caregiver, call us at (603) 471-3004 today.

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